My Life, and then some
According to Joseph A. Kenny
I had a wonderful childhood. I practically lived outside ALL the time. It didnít matter if it was cold, or if there were 2 feet of snow. It just made it all the better to be outside. It was in the days before good TV and video games.
As I got into my teenage years, I got into the hippie movement, though my mom never allowed the hair thing.
A friend of mine, Aaron Bartek and I use to have these parties. I mean real big parties. It got to a point that these parties got so big, we needed larger spaces. So we would scout out area farms that looked abandoned and have them there.
At one of these parties, at Aaronís house on 4th and Center in Omaha, I met Teena Whitesides. She was there with a friend of hers, Erika. Erika was one of Aaronís girl friends.
I believe Teena at the time, was 18 and I was 21, but she was a very young looking 18. I did have guilty feelings when I first dated her, mainly because of our age difference. Though 3 years isnít that bad, she just looked like she was 15-16.
Teena and I dated steadily thereafter. She was in her senior year at South High, in Omaha. Her father didnít really approve much of me, especially since I was 21 and had hair down to my shoulders, with a full beard. It also didnít help matters that I was a trash hauler with my 1967 Chevy pickup, but with that income and other extra curricular things, I made a decent living.
Teenaís father came around and eventually we both became real good friend, even went fishing together in Arkansas.
I remember during the times when he didnít allow her to see me, we would meet on the 36th St. bridge near her house. She would ride her bike and would then pick her up in my pickup.
We got along very well. In those days, she did everything for me. My laundry, cleaning, massaging, you name it, she did. She was like a Geisha girl, but I donít mean this in a hurtful way. She just always wanted me to be happy, and I was. It was her compassion towards me, that I originally fell in love with.
We were married on March 11, 1978, at St. Johnís Catholic Church.
We talked about waiting to have children, but women seem to have a way in convincing guys differently. Within the first year after getting married, she was pregnant with Philip. I know there are storied that I was drunk and was tricked into our first child, but this isnít entirely true. I was ready for children and wanted them. I did think that financially, it would have been better to wait, and maybe I was a bit tipsyÖ..
To make a long story short, we had three wonderful children together. Daniel Philip,(9 Aug. 1979) named after my father and favorite uncle at the time, Nicholas Ian (21 Feb. 1981), named after the news of John Lennonís death, (Neither one of us wanted John, so we chose Ian, which is Irish version of John), and as far as Nicholas, I think we just liked that name, and Kyle Joseph (20 Oct. 1982). We like the name Kyle after hearing that name in one of the characters name in Terminator (1). I know, we were crazy kids.
Over the years while married, I worked for Northern Natural Gas, which changed their name to InterNorth,-Interon-Enron, and after a huge bankruptcy, back to Northern Natural Gas. I also worked ďside-jobs, painting. I was severed in 1985 after the Enron merger, and started my own business, Kennyís Painting Service Inc., which I am still employed by. In 2000, the corporate name was officially changed to Kennyís Services, Inc.
Teena and I lived (rented for $80.p/m) at 2713 Pacific until right near Philip birth, when we bought our first home at 5452 S. 49th Ave, in Omaha. It was a fixer-upper, though it was supposedly just remodeled.
We put two additions onto our new home, then had the address changed to 5454 because there was a 5452 on 49th St. and the post office was getting confused.
Teena sold Mary Kay Cosmetics and operated a licensed day care from the home to help with expenses, though I am certain we only lost money on the MKC.
In late 1988, the LDS missionaries knocked on the door while I was at work. Teena let them in, felt the Spirit and decided to join the church. Within a few weeks, she wanted a divorce and by January, 1989, it was final. I moved into my motherís home at 1114 S. 76th St, in Omaha and saved, saved, saved. We settled up our assets and I wanted to buy the house and saved up enough to do so and in the matter of months, I bought Teenaís share from her. I stayed at 5454 S. 49th Ave until 1993, when Wendy and I bought a house from Rob Dowse, at 7202 S. 76th St, in La Vista, where we live presently.
Philip lived with me at 49th Ave. for quite some time. During the years, all the kids eventually came to live with us.
During the period around 1989, Teena and the boys all joined the LDS faith. I had the missionaries teach me, but was not ready to join, though I did feel it made more sense to me that the Catholic faith did.
I attended the same church for close to 6 months, showing up most every Sunday, more so that the kids would see dad coming to church, than for my own salvation.
I was dating a few girls after the divorce and writing a pen-pal from England, named Wendy Richardson. She had been through a divorce also and had three children, Emma
(8 Aug. 1989), Matt, (17 May 1981) and Naomi (6 Dec. 1983). After a short time, we were writing daily and calling each other daily.
During our writing days, I mentioned to her that I had listened to the LDS missionaries and she wrote back saying she was a member of the church. I really felt inspired that Heavenly Father was sending me a powerful message. Here within a one year time period, the church was brought to my door, from two complete avenues, both through people that were close to me, Wendy and my children.
I invited the missionaries over again, heard the full discussions and this time when they asked for me to pray about it to receive an answer, I really prayed and searched my heart. I did receive this answer.
Wendy and I ended up marrying after a short, long distant relationship on 5 Sep. 1989 and in 1991, I was baptized in Plymouth, England.
Wendy and I raised pretty much all six of our children and we are all strong in our church.
Wendy works at Creighton University Dental School. As the children grew, they all either went to college and moved, most are married now and in 2008, we have 9 grandchildren.
Joseph A. Kenny